A Beginner's Guide to Non-Alcoholic Beverages



Alcohol sales spiked by as much as 50% when the pandemic hit. This is because most of us, especially Americans, believe that alcohol relaxes us.

However, science has found that it’s more complicated than that. In fact, using alcohol to relieve stress can train the brain to be more anxious during the day. Plus there are lots of other reasons to cut back: better sleep, a thinner waist, a thicker wallet, a longer life… so why don’t we do it?

Most health experts agree that performing this ritual is genuinely beneficial. But they also agree that it actually has nothing to do with alcohol. It’s the act of self-care. Indulging in a good non-alcoholic drink can create the same sense of ease.

The good news is that it’s never been easier. Modern non-alcoholic drinks are sophisticated, widespread and delicious. Whether you’re making an intricate mocktail or popping a kombucha, there’s an exciting array of options that will help you relax, have fun, and explore...

Mocktails are increasingly popular, complex, and legitimately delicious. While most of these are refreshing, fruity and zesty drinks, others bring in teas, botanicals, spiced spirits or bitters into the mix to create a variety of flavors.

If you’re just starting out, you can easily mimic classic cocktails with easy-to-find ingredients:

The Gimlet: All you need is club soda, fresh lime juice and simple syrup

The Mule: Simple syrup, fresh lime juice, ginger beer, ice

The Mojito: Mint leaves, lime juice, simple syrup, club soda

The Paloma: Lime juice, grapefruit juice, agave syrup, sea salt

The key to making non-alcoholic cocktails satisfying is to make them with care...

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I used to enjoy a glass or two of wine at the end of the day or with a meal, a draft beer on a hot day on the patio, and years ago a good scotch.

But I haven't been able to tolerate alcohol since my first colon cancer diaqgnosis in February 2014: it just makes me feel extremely nauseated, not pleasant at all.

I won't deny that I missed it at first, to the extent that I tried a glass of wine 2 or 3 times in the ensuing months, hoping that maybe my tolerance would have changed. It hadn't so I gave up on that.

I don't even miss it any more. And when I think back to the days when I'd stop at the liquor board on the way home on a Friday evening and come back with 8-10 bottles of wine or so for the week (not just for me; for my CL and me) and my bank account $120-150 or more lighter because I liked good wine, not raunchy cheap stuff, mostly French or German Rhine wines, occasionally a decent Australian brand (never Canadian or US no matter how many times I heard they were much improved — improved from what? turpentine flavored to dismal simulated rubbing alcohol? no thanks).... that's a lot of money per year on booze when you add it up.



So there might be some good news for drinkers, and there's definitely some bad news for drinkers. How does the arithmetic add up? There was a large analysis of 1,286 data sources published in the Lancet in 2018. The authors found that, with a 95% uncertainty interval, the level of alcohol consumption that minimized harm across health outcomes was — drum roll please — zero.

So in summary? The health benefits of drinking alcohol are real, though small enough to be unlikely to noticeably improve your health. The proven detrimental effects of drinking, on the other hand, are definitely noticeable and far outweigh any benefits. So do your own math (if you don't trust the the Lancet), and weigh whatever enjoyment you get against the costs. That's the part Skeptoid can't help you with.

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